"Cuz (S)He Isn't Going to Win" and Friday Notes

Good day racing fans.

California Chrome's connections announced his schedule for the next while, and if all goes well, the races for the rest of his career will be next week at Ascot, the Arlington Million, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic. That's an ambitious schedule. In fact, his whole career has been ambitious in many ways.

But, some people don't like it. Probably because people think he is not going to win those races.

On the flip side, Frankel was criticized for racing most races at a mile, not tackling the Arc etc. Zenyatta was butchered for not tackling the males almost every month, a la Rachel Alexandra. In many ways, those champs did play it safe.

We - me included - tend to think we know more than we do about a particular horse. We think a horse "can't get 10 furlongs", "can't race on dirt or turf", has "no chance". Ergo, the damn horse's connections should be listening to us. But this is a horse race, with thousands of variables. You don't know what is going to happen unless you try.

Timeform's preview of the Prince of Wales says it well.

"California Chrome’s turf proficiency is in little doubt after his Hollywood Derby win last November, but his position as a truly world-class performer is assumed rather than proven."

If a horse's connections want to prove them world class performers by racing out of their comfort zone, isn't that what we, as fans, clamor for?

I'll be cheering for Chrome on Wednesday. He has a 12-1 chance, so it is what it is, and if he gets beaten it should not surprise us, but in a game where connections want to be 2-5 each week, in short, unbettable fields so they don't get beaten, I think it's refreshing. 


In a harness racing trade mag yesterday Mac Nichol, owner of Madefromlucky said both his horse and Materiality were under the weather after the Belmont Stakes. I thought MFL was going to be very good at 12f, so maybe that explains him spinning his wheels. Materiality came last, was all done in 1:14 for 6f, and was beaten by 15 by horses he is better than, so that makes sense to me, too.

The North America Cup elims are Saturday. Horse of the Year JK Shesalady is racing on the card as well. I think there's a chance she's handed the first loss of her career tomorrow night. Foiled Again, 11 years old and off a month to clear up some issues, is in the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the cooler races on the calender each year.


"Currently racing seems to want to slot machine or lottery the skill-based gambling game it is. What new bets are created? Lottery bets that are almost impossible to win at day to day, and then promoting a jackpot, like a progressive slot machine. Lottery bets are fine, in small numbers, but, in my view, this is exactly the opposite big picture strategy that’s needed to move forward.

I didn't expect the mainstream media attention for the Triple Crown to show just how niche our sport is. 50 years ago horses were on SI covers all the time, and you could not run into anyone who liked sports who did not know at least something about handicapping and racing. Now, we've got stories on how horses showing penis's can win races and others. I guess we can look at that as glass half full, or glass half empty.

Kentucky Downs is slating $120k maidens and other good purses for its abbreviated meet this fall. If you are a searcher for value, it's a must-play meet.

Betfair has betting on AP's stud fee at a defacto over-under of $175,000. I'd be betting the under. It's also a gentle reminder why he might not race again, should even the slightest something go wrong.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

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